Chris Jericho has wrestled in all the biggest companies in the world. His career has led him to the main event of huge promotions like WWE, NJPW and AEW.
However, he first became a big stat with his performances in the cruiserweight division in WCW. This eventually earned him his move to WWE where he would become one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
In this article, we’ll look at Chris Jericho’s WCW debut and how he got signed by the company in the first place.
Chris Jericho WCW Debut
Chris Jericho made his WCW debut on WCW Saturday Night on August 20th, 1996. He wrestled against former ECW star Jerry Lynn, then under a mask as “Mr JL” in a match designed to introduce him to the WCW audience.
Chris Jericho had just signed for the company after impressing whilst wrestling for ECW. He was signed by Eric Bischoff based on less than 6 months spent under Paul Heyman, joining other former ECW superstars like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio.
This was a short match that was dominated by Jericho. He won the short match after planting a suplex on Mr JL and hitting his patented Lionsault for the victory.
However, this was not the first WCW match for Chris Jericho that was televised. This match aired on tape delay and was shown nearly two weeks after it took place.
Chris Jericho’s first TV match for WCW was on Nitro against Alex Wright. This took place on the August 26th, 1996 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, going up against the young German star in an important match for both.
However, the match ended in a no-contest. Alex Wright was on the outside and about to be counted out. Not wanting to win the match that way, the debuting Chris Jericho asked the match to be declared a no-contest.
This was the ultimate face move and one the fans appreciated. Jericho then had an interview with Mean Gene, declaring his intention to go up against the NWO.
A Match With Ultimo Dragon Got Chris Jericho Hired By ECW
Chris Jericho would have never been able to make his WCW debut if he had never been signed by ECW in the first place.
A tape that Dave Meltzer sent to Paul Heyman was the catalyst for getting Chris Jericho his ECW debut. The Wrestling Observer journalist is famous for helping, or hindering, wrestlers careers with his star ratings over the years but did good when he helped introduce Chris Jericho to the audience in the United States.
In July 1995 Chris Jericho competed in the hallowed Ryōgoku Sumo Hall in Japan against Ultimo Dragon. Lionheart, as Jericho was known then, won that match and retained his WAR Junior Heavyweight Championship in the process. However, the match would prove to be the start of much bigger things for Chris Jericho.
Speaking on Twitter, Dave Meltzer revealed that he sent the match to Paul Heyman at the time. His intention was the show him Ultimo Dragon, who Heyman was interested in signing for ECW. Instead he was impressed by Jericho, who he promptly brought to the company to wrestle.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.